Advocacy That Puts You First.

Photo of Alicia Lackey

What should you know about plea bargains?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2021 | Criminal Law |

When facing criminal charges, you must carefully consider your options. You may have heard the term plea bargain used in relation to your case. A plea bargain has many benefits that could help you, but it can come with potential drawbacks as well.

To make an informed decision, you must first learn the pros and cons of accepting a plea bargain. Is doing so the right choice for you? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Benefits of a plea bargain

Cornell Law School discusses the benefits and drawbacks of plea bargains. Plea bargains exist as a way to cut down on the case load that courts must deal with. It saves everyone involved in the case time and money. It is also a way for judges to process out lower level court cases that would otherwise take time and resources away from bigger issues.

In a plea bargain, the prosecuting party offers a deal to the defendant. In many cases, they will offer a less severe charge or reduce the amount of charges you might be facing. In exchange, they expect you to plead guilty. In some cases, you can plead no contest, which allows the same result without you having to directly claim guilt.

The main benefits of plea bargains is that they save you time and money and can reduce your charges. If you have a high chance of getting convicted, accepting the terms of a plea bargain can help you avoid more severe penalties and longer sentences.

Potential drawbacks

A major drawback is that some people feel that plea bargains are coercive. They can entice defendants who may not actually be guilty to voluntarily admit guilt for something they might not have done in exchange for avoiding penalties.

Some also argue that plea bargains undermine constitutional rights. While you must waive three rights to accept a plea bargain, the court still deems this practice legal.